Philadelphia (AP) – After surprising the baseball world by signing free agent pitcher Cliff Lee to a long-term contract, the Philadelphia Phillies have arguably the best starting rotation in baseball history, with 2009 NL Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay, Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. Now the Phillies are starting to make their next set of deals to accommodate their newfound wealth of pitching.
General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. confirmed that his team is in “serious talks” with league officials and representatives of all of the National League teams as well as the New York Yankees, regarding an unprecedented arrangement whereby the Phillies will forfeit every fifth game on the schedule. While early rumors contended this move was initiated by the team because it does not have enough money to pay a fifth starter, Amaro explained that the Phillies were merely offering the forfeitures as a “gesture” in an effort to even the playing field. “We know we’re going to get 85 or 90 wins just in the games those four guys start” said Charlie Manuel via phone interview from his chicken farm in Nebraska. “So with that kind of head start, we figure it’s only fair to let the other teams have a game here and there so they’re not completely demoralized. Baseball’s like a family, y’know.”
A team spokesman also confirmed Tuesday that the team had waived its entire bullpen, for obvious reasons. Manuel said “in the few games towards the end of the season that one of the guys can’t pitch a whole game, we’ll just bring in Shane (Victorino) or Jimmy (Rollins) to pitch the last inning- they got good arms. Or I may come out to throw- I’ve got a uniform and I used to pitch some when I was on the (Milwaukee) Braves.”
Separately, league officials said that while nothing had been confirmed with the Phillies, the league was considering holding the 2011 National League Championship award ceremony sometime during the Phillies’ opening homestand in April.
The Associated Press